Under normal circumstances, a B1G conference schedule that doesn't include Ohio State would be considered a good thing. Yes, I like to see Iowa play in big games against the best competition the conference has to offer, but I like winning more and playing a team like Indiana instead of OSU gives Iowa a better shot a taking the B1G crown. Iowa won't be playing the Buckeyes the next 2 years, unless it's part of the B1G Championship Game.
This year will not be normal circumstances. I don't think I need to go into detail about everything that's gone down at Ohio State in the past few months. The big things are that Jim Tressel has resigned, the "Tat-5" are suspended for the first 5 games of the years, with more investigations coming more players could end up suspended, the NCAA could really lay down the law in August hurting OSU further (bowl ban, loss of scholarships, etc...), and it's likely that Terrelle Pryor is as gone as Tressel. Does that necessarily mean Ohio State will have a down year? No, but it's looking more and more likely every day.
2011 ImpactWhile a bad Buckeye team would bring me a great feeling of schadenfreude, it won't be helpful to Iowa. The 3 teams Iowa is most likely to battle with to win the B1G Legends are Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State. All 3 play Ohio State. MSU is the biggest winner as the Spartans get OSU while the Tat-5 players are still suspended. Nebraska gets them the week after with the Tat-5 back, but likely rusty. (The Ohio State-Michigan game is obviously the last week of the year.) Wins over OSU could provide a big boost at the beginning of conference play for both MSU and Nebraska and it would be a great way for Michigan to end the season. If there's a 3-way tie at the top of the divisions and BCS rankings come into play, I suspect teams that have a win over Ohio State (even a bad Ohio State) on their resume will have the advantage.
Recruiting ImpactIowa loves to recruit the state of Ohio and goes head-to-head with Ohio State for many prospects. Of the many schools Iowa's recruits against, Ohio State is the most successful at getting commits.
There are a lot of FBS caliber kids in Ohio too. According to this post on MGoBlog on in-state recruiting in the B1G, Ohio State has gotten 123 commits from the state of Ohio. However, that is just 30% of the total pool of prospects from the state. That is about 30 high schoolers a year from Ohio that end up at another B1G school.
With an interim coach in Luke Fickell, it's not likely OSU will land too many commits until a full-time head coach is hired. The looming NCAA sanctions could have a major impact. The precedent that has been sent is with USC--bowl ban and a loss of scholarships. USC's loss of 30 scholarships over 3 years is huge. I think they have less than 10 spots to fill for the upcoming year. If OSU is hit with something similar, then their recruiting class size could also be in the single digits, leaving a potentially larger pool of talent for other B1G schools, like Iowa, to go after.
From Ohio on Iowa's current roster:
- Micah Hyde
- B.J. Lowery
- Anthony Hitchens
- Brad Rogers
- Steve Bigach
- Bruce Davis
- Lebron Daniel
- Andrew Donnal
- Joe Gaglione
- Ray Hamilton
- John Lowdermilk